Author: Todd Marcucci
WARNING!!! Think twice before you disable your airbag!!! The simple fact is that they are there for your safety and to save your life! If you have ever been in an accident you realize the insane amount of force at work in even slow collisions. If you remove your airbag, you are taking your life in your own hands. In no way shape or form will NTPOG be liable for your own stupidity (or so our lawyers tell us).
Selecting a Wheel
Keep in mind that hole patterns for steering wheels and hubs differ between manufacturers. Momo, Sparco,and Mugen should be the same, while Nardi is different. The adapter shown/used in this install works with all of those. Grant wheels/hubs (commonly available in the US) are different still, and generally don't work with *anyones* hubs but Grant's.
What You Need
Removing the Factory Wheel
Now you can work on the stock wheel. Remove the 2 screw covers from the LH side of the wheel and the RH side of the wheel as shown (use the a flathead or pocketknife):
Once you remove these covers you can access the two T30 torx screws that hold the airbag in place. Use it to remove these:
Now remove the cable access cover on the underside of the wheel:
And then disconnect the airbag cable. To do this, you will need to pull back on a "sleeve" on one side (towards the wires) and pull the other side out. The sleeve has to be slid back to release the connector locking mechanism.
Now you can gently remove the airbag. Note the connectors you have to disconnect: the horn wires (from the column and to the airbag horn buttons) and the cruise control switch.
Be sure to store the airbag in a cool, dry place that won't be subject to a lot of vibration- you don't want it going off!!! With the airbag out you can now remove the factory wheel from the column. At this point you have to be VERY sure your wheels are straight. Your steering wheel needs to be perfectly straight. This may require you to put you key in, turn it so the steering wheel unlocks, and straighten out the wheels. If they are not straight you may need to removed and re-center the hub all over again.
Using the 14mm socket and breaker bar, break torque on the hub bolt (it's a bolt for the 5th gen and a nut for the 4th gen). Be sure to hold the wheel while you do this! If you move the wheel off of center, carefully center it back before you loosen the hub bolt/nut. Once you have loosened the bolt/nut, loosen it 5 or 6 turns (but don't remove it).
Now use the steering wheel puller you've rented (or bought) to remove the wheel. There are two holes just outside of the hub bolt/nut; use these to mount the puller, with the center bolt of the puller pressing against the hub nut/bolt:
It may take a little force but you should be able to pop the wheel off. The first time I did it I thought I was going to break something, then it popped. Again, be careful not to uncenter the steering wheel. Once you have the wheel loose (and still centered!) carefully remove the bolt/nut and then remove the wheel and set it aside. Don't turn the wheel while taking it off! You should now be looking at the cable reel:
The cable reel allows all the horn, SRS (airbag), and cruise wires to be spun around with the steering wheel and not get tangled. The importance of not turning the steering wheel is twofold: First, if the cable reel moves (and you're not sure where center is), it has to be recentered. It's designed to turn with the wheel and will only turn 2.xx? times until it locks up. You'll need to turn it until it locks, turn it back (until it's straight up), then turn it again (away from the lock) one more time. The second reason to not turn the wheel is the ATTS or 4WS "Steering Angle Sensor." If you uncenter that, you have to return it to center similarly.
Installing the Hub Adapter
This is the base. The base model, down inside the cable reel, has 2 tabs running vertically for the turn signal canceling. The hub has these to match. The Type SH and ATTS, however, have an additional tab (and slot on the hub) that is rotated 90 degrees from the other two. This is for the steering angle sensor.
I'm not sure if it's *just* the Type SH, or Type SH *and* the 4WS models, but the Type SH I recently helped install on required the slots in the hub to be filed out. Test fit yours and make sure it seats snugly (there should be NO play). Use a flashlight and look at the tabs. From what I have seen the SH's are larger and the hub will need to be filed:
Once the hub fits and you are ready, you can put it on the column. Be sure the tabs in back line up AND the cable reel's alignment pins fit into the corresponding holes in the hub. Everything should fit without binding. Oh, and almost all hubs have an alignment mark for "TOP." Use it! If you started removal with the wheels straight, they should still be. The hub should also be "obviously" aligned. The splines on the shaft are spaced far enough apart that if it's not aligned right, it should look like it. Center it, then install the hub bolt/nut to 36 ft-lbs of torque with the torque wrench. At this point, if you turn the wheel while torqueing it down, it's OK. I used the theft lock "feature" to hold the hub and shaft while I torqued it down.
You're ready to wire. Run the wires up through the center of the hub:
Part of the beauty of a "real" airbag-defeating hub is that it comes with a resistor and wiring to make the airbag control system "think" an airbag is installed. The electronics sense the resistance of the airbag firing system and if not installed (or electrically open) will turn on the SRS light. The resistor defeats this purpose. Whether yours comes with connectors on it or not, you'll want to connect the resistor across the two pins in the yellow airbag connector:
Since you won't need the cruise control connector anymore (did I forget to mention you lose your cruise control buttons with the wheel?), tape it and the airbag resistor off and out of the way. Leave the horn wire accessible, you'll need it when you attach your horn button in a minute.
Now you need to slip on the hub cover (accordion-looking thing). You will need to adjust it so it covers the hub but doesn't rub the column:
Now you're ready to install your wheel. Line it up with the pattern it matches (the hub shown here shows several. If you moved the steering wheel while torqueing, be sure to line up the topmost bolt on the wheel with the "TOP" mark on the hub! Use the screws included with the hub (or the wheel, or whatever actually fits the hub) to attach the steering wheel. I recommend Loctite on these as they are small (can't torque them much) and are really the only thing between you and a loose steering wheel. Put a dab of Loctite on the threads and tighten them with the allen key (should be supplied with the hub or wheel).
Now you should be able to do the horn. My hub came with a neat-o Honda horn button, but it didn't fit my Sparco (was too small). I can only assume it's for a Nardi or another brand. At any rate, I used the one that came with my wheel. Connect the factory horn wire- on the button shown here, there are two tabs. Honda uses a switched ground connection; one of the tabs makes a connection to the grounding bar when the button is pressed. I guessed, and guessed right. If you have a meter you can check, otherwise I invite you to guess, hold the tab to ground (or just install the button) and try it. Worst case you pop it out and switch the wire. Be sure when you insert the switch that the grounding tab on the side contacts the hub surface when you install it:
And you're done!! Reconnect the battery and make sure the horn works. Enjoy your new wheel!!!
Note: As a reference, about half of the stuff that came with my hub adapter I didn't need. Basically everything to the right of the hub in the first picture on this page.
If you accidentally connected the battery before attaching the resistor and have an SRS light, you can view the procedure to reset the system and turn off the light here.
Finally... if you are interested in adding your cruise control buttons back... I'm not going to go into the detail here, but you can do it with a little drilling of the hub and transferring from your OEM wheel:
As always, feel free to email the author with comments, critiques, etc.
This page last updated 4/12/01.